Part 43: Number Six - S.D.Okay, so what's the situation?
The Vanguard team has pulled out of the warehouse. They say there's too many Devouring Earth in there. It looks like the Hamidon knows how important this place is. They also reported something odd, which was a signature of another super-powered individual in there. This person might be with the Hamidon, or they might be some poor soul that's trapped down there.
I hate to ask more of you, but...
It's up to me to get the sonic fence technology.
You read my mind! ... Wait, did you really? I hope not, I never liked mind readers. Ah... not that I don't like mind readers, but, well, you get what I'm trying to say.
Wait, you're a robot - can mind readers even read computer brains?
If you can recover the sonic fence equipment, the Vanguard truck outside of the warehouse will bring it back and assemble it all to get Last Bastion.
I'd also try to investigate what that power signature is down there. It could be another ally we could use in this whole thing. Well, it could also be a super that Hamidon has infested, which means that we'll take down another agent of Hamidon! Good news, right?
I'm just happy Shadow Hunter wasn't at full strength. I'd feel a little bad about it if he wasn't some kind of Hamidon-infested undead zombie, or whatever he is now...
In the meantime, I'm going to be using my abilities to scan the area near Last Bastion for any large gatherings of Devouring Earth; the attack that you stopped came from underground nearby. I think we can make things safer if we can take more of the fight to this creature!
This place is a mess.
But most of the sonic fence parts are here, at least. I wonder how this stuff is supposed to work, anyway - I mean, I suppose I could see it repelling one of the flying Seeds, but what if they tunneled underneath the city?
There's still some parts downstairs, along with that other power signature. Maybe I can avoid it...
Oh god, it's soaking right through my boots!
I can barely tell where the warehouse ends and where the growth begins, at this point.
Wait, is that...
Arachnos Crab Spider armor.
I think everyone but Portal Corp had infiltrators in Praetoria at some point. Arachnos, Crey, Malta... they were looking for advanced technology or just spying. I wonder if any of them got out...
Last of the sonic fence parts. And no sign of that other power--
Not... like... this...!
You will become one of us.
(20 seconds later...)
What in the... what is someone else doing down here?
Say hello to Reese, the last Top Dog of Praetoria's Powers Division. Those who went through Going Rogue may remember him as the asshole in the first Power storyarc; after being a complete dick throughout your initiation into the Top Dogs - the best of the best of Powers Division, the superpowered arm of the Praetorian Police & Armed Forces - he and some thugs tried to ambush you in a warehouse for... some reason (likely because you were well on your way to overshadowing him).
You must be Isawa Koi, I've heard about you, kind of hard not to when you're throwing around all that power. Name's Reese, I used to be a Top Dog around Praetoria. That doesn't matter much, though, since there's nothing much left of the place.
I heard the cities in Praetoria were nuked by Cole. Good riddance, I say, the place was too small time.
I'm amazed that the end of the world doesn't seem to have phased you that much.
I was trying to help out these people in Last Bastion. Anyway, I guess you probably have some questions about things, don't you?
Several, but we don't have time for that now. Why are you here?
I've been roaming the world, trying to fight off the Hamidon. Figured going up against that thing was true Top Dog material, not like the amateurs that were running around like chickens with their heads cut off in Praetoria.
I guess the warrior pilgrimage tradition is still going strong.
I heard over some transmissions about Last Bastion and figured I'd try to find the sonic fence facility myself and recover it. You... ah... well, let's just say there were more Devouring Earth here than I thought.
Look, we can talk about this all day, or you can help me get out of here. I'm willing to share some of the spotlight for now if it means keeping Praetoria one last chance.
The more help, the better. Alright Reese, you're with me. (Activate Reese's teleporter)
Good on you, Isawa Koi. I'll see you at Last Bastion.
Were all Top Dogs kind of dicks like him?
Oh god, I need a shower after that...
Vanguard and the IDF are working on getting the sonic fences up as we speak, Isawa Koi. The Vanguard have been fighting off the occasional attack by the Devouring Earth. Serpent Drummer is concerned, though, that the Hamidon is merely toying with us, making us think that we have the upperhand(sic).
I hope he's wrong, but... well... the guy is usually right. I'm starting to have my doubts about how good of an idea this was, especially with this latest order handed down directly from Lady Grey.
She says that if the situation gets to a point where the civilization is going to fall, then I need to shut off the portal to Praetoria. Anyone left there will be considered KIA. Pretty bad, right? I mean, why do I have to do that? I was never up for this! Things were so much simpler when I was just Executable Number 6 on the tech sphere and helping out that woman in the computer...
The woman in the computer is likely Dr. Friedkin, a Crey scientist who perfected a mind-transferring process and transferred into a computer just before Crey murdered her for the technology. She doesn't show up in game beyond having leaving some messages for you during one of the Crey storyarcs, briefly starting off a mission in the Manticore Task Force, and having a mission where you discover her fate (and get The Doctor's Ally badge for doing so).
Are you alright, Six? You look like you needed a few minutes alone. And, uh, I needed a shower.
Sorry, Isawa Koi, I sort of went into a weird place there. We need to focus, right? Right! So, here's the deal.
It's going to take a while to get the sonic fencing back up to snuff. In the meantime, I've managed to locate a huge area underground where the Devouring Earth forces are located. Not just that, but I even located, get this, an Avatar of Hamidon Crazy!
Were you there when the first Avatar was found? It was terrifying, from what I heard!
I was. It... wasn't pleasant.
The Avatar of Hamidon first showed up in the Underground Incarnate trial, where you were running through the sewers of Praetoria and beyond, fighting Imperial Defense Forces, Devouring Earth, and infested IDF until you hit bottom. The actual story of the trial is too long to get into here, but suffice to say that the Avatar is a mean customer, if only because it would spam strong confuse effects across a wide area.
Luckily for us, that one was actually a bit of an anomaly; it had been there for a very long time.
Your average Avatar isn't as strong as that... well, we hope. At least, the one I found isn't that bad!
You're suggesting I destroy the Avatar of Hamidon. You're-- you're joking, right? It took two dozen other heroes to take down the one we ran into in the Praetorian Underground.
That's it precisely! The Devouring Earth tend to flock around these Avatars. They're leader figures in a sense.
Plus, well, to be honest, we kind of need to focus Hamidon's attention away from Last Bastion, and the best way to do that is throw a buffed up Incarnate like you straight at one of its prized possessions!
Now I sort of want to just curl up into a ball and cry.
I'm sorry that I'm asking you to do such a dangerous thing, Isawa Koi, but, well, it kind of comes with the territory of fighting to save a civilization from a giant earth monster.
Just make sure you're prepared, ok? The Avatar of Hamidon is no joke, so if you're going to go against it, you need to bring all the firepower you can muster!
This is code for 'Elite boss/Archvillain in the mission, possibly with unique powers that can mess you up if you're not careful'.
In the meantime, I'm going to investigate some odd readings I'm getting from Anti-Matter's space station. I don't know what it could be, but someone turned something on in there. It could be him!
I'll be covering Anti-Matter later, in another post.
I will say this about the Praetoria Underground. It's definitely the cleanest series of sewers I've ever had to search through.
(It's actually used more as a bunker for military personel and civilians in case of attack. This made it an excellent hideout for the Praetorian Resistance.)
The Hamidon's will must be spread. The seeds will do its will.
The less Seeds around here, the better.
We were aware of your presence, Isawa Koi!
I hope you're aware of 'stop, drop and roll'.... okay, yeah, I'm just going to not quip at all.
I should burn these spore pods as well. I remember them from back when everyone faced the first Avatar... man, what were we THINKING, carrying these around? I mean, I guess they helped when taking down that Self-Repairing War Walker, but I think this stuff is semi-intelligent - we should have realized it would have taken the War Walker over afterwards.
(Yes, this all happens in the Underground Incarnate trial. It's certainly a 'wait, what?' moment if you actually think about it.)
There is someone else here. They can be sensed.
You will become one with us, Isawa Koi!
The world is almost saved from humanity. We are so close.
A lot more Devoured!
You will not stop the world from being remade!
... I'll never understand Resistance graffiti.
(It means 'all Loyalists are sheep'. It's not a great shot of it, but note the sort of faded star symbol.)
The Hamidon has given birth to new life in Germany. They could not last.
The beautiful tundras shall be made home to all of Hamidon's new creations.
The creatures in South America can be used to destroy the last remnants of this Vanguard.
This hasn't been too bad, so far. Seeing Greater Devoured in blue shades is kind of disorientating - too used to the Primal Earth version in their pale fleshtones.
And none of these infested IDF have any really heavy ordinance, like War Walkers, or... wait... is that...
... Yup, that's a bomb alright. I've really got to stop making leading statements like that - it's just asking the universe to prove me wrong.
What it's doing here, I have no idea. Although I did hear of some kind of Arachnos plot that involved planting stolen Rikti bombs in Neutropolis a while back...
The world is being reformed. The last holdouts in the area known as Japan have fallen.
The one known as Isawa Koi is becoming a problem. They must be made to join us.
You will be made to be apart of Hamidon!
I hate ominous doors.
Which is why I'm going through them, of course...
And this entirely justifies my hate. I'm... pretty sure this isn't a mouth, but it REALLY wants to be.
Good thing I can fly. I can't imagine having to just blindly jump down there.
Yeah, definitely glad I can fly. I don't have another clean set of clothes handy.
And there it is.
The Avatar of Hamidon.
And... some guy with glasses?
Charmed, I'm sure.
Hello, Isawa Koi. I believe it's time you and I talk. I am the Hamidon. I have taken this form to interact with you.
I don't think we have anything to talk about. This might have been what Hamidon Pasalima the man looked like, but you moved beyond that form long ago.
The heart of man is evil, Isawa Koi. At its core, humans are creatures who cannot help but descend into sin, into evil, into destruction. I have seen it, I was once like that, until I ascended, became something more.
Something different, maybe.
You are here now, trying to stop me, trying to stop the Good from remaking the world, from taking it back. You are fully aware of what humanity has done to the planet, to this gift that they have. It is ignored, it is used, it is destroyed... something so massive as this planet, destroyed by something so... finite.
You claim to be a hero of the people, but how can you stand to serve such a limited cause? Your actions do nothing but prolong their doom. Why do you continue, Isawa Koi, when you stand for something so meaningless?
I serve because of duty and honor, and because there are people that need help. I can't just ignore others when they're in need. They put their hope in me, and I do the same for them. I continue because there's hope in humanity, Hamidon.
Hope? In your humanity? There was never any hope, Isawa Koi. Even the strongest humans give in to their weaknesses, to their vices. You are all ruled by them. I have seen this in Emperor Cole and all the others who begged for humanity to be given 'one last chance'.
In my mercy, I gave them one last chance, and they proved me right. When he was given the chance, Marcus Cole gave into his vice: pride. It was in his pride that he sought control, and through that, he eventually did an evil that was once done onto him; releasing a nuclear bomb on his own beloved city.
Don't you see how telling that act was? How it shows how self-destructive you all are? But I am different, Isawa Koi. Where you all destroy, I create.
You call this creation? You're killing everyone!
I am purging a problem, Isawa Koi. I shall try to put it in a way you understand.
I am removing the criminal so they never have the chance to commit the crime. Humanity as a whole has proven lacking, they do not deserve the Earth, the beauty that I have seen. I must save this beauty, save this Earth. In order to do that, the problem must be removed.
You will not get in my way, Isawa Koi, not any further. You represent humanity's new Cole, the one who says they can be saved. But I will not give you the same mercy I gave Cole. As we speak, my new life is consuming your last diseased humanity.
Your 'diversion' works both ways - as we speak, my children are surrounding your 'Last Bastion'. You cannot save them, Isawa Koi, for you too will be consumed and become part of something greater, something more beautiful than yourself.
Others have tried, Hamidon. You'll find I'm hard to kill!
This world is mine, and you do not belong in it, Isawa Koi.
This version of the Avatar of Hamidon is scaled down from the level 55 Archvillain you face in the Underground Incarnate trial. He still has a couple of of his tricks - mainly his confusion power, which prevents me from hitting him with targetted attacks while he's free to wail on me.
I'm actually not sure what the other 3 Seeds do beyond get in my way, but they likely just stack debuffs.
Also, the Avatar gets Carrion Creeper vines, a favorite power for Plant Controllers. Really, what worries me about this fight is that I'm getting hit straight through my Barrier Destiny effect (the light blue bubble around me), which cranks my defense and resistance numbers to near the cap. I only really tank through the damage thanks to healing inspirations.
I... I did it. I guess Six was right - it WAS weaker than that first one. But no time to feel good about it, I need to get back before--
--lo, are you there? Isawa Koi, we've got no time to talk! Last Bastion's under attack, there's a Seed of Hamidon floating right above it!
You've got to hurry, Isawa Koi, Vanguard is going to close the portal to Last Bastion!
The forces there are being overrun, but if you can get in there, you could do something! Just... just you need to know one thing before you go in...
What is it?
The portal will not take you back once you go in. The only way to get back is if you can get the area secured. But... The only way to do that is to somehow get a message back to here.
That's where I come in! I'll be splitting a part of myself to monitor your activities. If things go well, I'll send the message to reactivate the portal. If they don't... well, then you're going to become really good friends with a part of me!
There are worse people I could be trapped with. And... thank you for doing this.
From the sounds of things, you may need all the help you can get. The reports we received from Serpent Drummer indicate that the force that's attacking is massive. You'll have to give it everything you've got to repel them!
Isawa Koi. It looks like we're in this together. I had a feeling the portal will close. I'm sure we'll get through this.
That makes one of us, at least...
This would normally be when one of us would say we've been through worse. However, being trapped on a planet with an entity that controls all of the Earth that is trying to consume my life is, coincidentally, the worst situation I believe I've been in.
This is about as desparate as it's ever been for me, as well. Understood. What's the situation?
We've got groups of Devouring Earth swarming outside of the building. However, Reese was able to take down a number of them before being forced to retreat. Unfortunately, he couldn't stop them from shutting down the Lambda turrets.
If you can activate those turrets, they'll blast the Seed of Hamidon away. You'll also need to clear the Devouring Earth and the Hamidon seeds from outside.
That should give us some breathing room, but we won't be out of the woods just yet. We'll stay in here to monitor your progress, good luck.
Okay... no pressure. Outside is just a a collection of monsters and possessed armed forces all ready to shoot me dead. I've been in worse spots. Yeah, definitely. The Honoree, the Jade Spider, the last showdown with Emperor Cole... I've been lost in time, lost in the Shadow Shard, lost in Oranbega looking for 21 stage magicians! This is NOTHING!
But I wish my friends were here, if only to see them one last time. Onward to destiny.
Step one: clear the area.
Step two: find the turret controls and reboot them.
Why did we just leave them out in the open like this? Couldn't we have put them in the main building?
Step 3, hunker down. Let them come to me.
You're not getting past me!
I would protect the world from destruction. Why would you wish to stop this?
You had your chance, Isawa Koi. It could have been easier.
The world will be remade, it will be born a new.
You had your chance, Isawa Koi. It could have been easier.
The world will be remade, it will be born a new.
Humanity's imperfection doomed them from the start. Give in.
Serpent Drummer reporting. Our scouts were able to chase off Shadow Hunter, thanks to the beating you gave him earlier.
Thank goodness for small miracles, at least. I'm starting to wish I had called up some help before...I...
... I am noticing all sorts of crazy stuff recently.
Looks like it's burnt out. Too bad, It might have been useful.
(Finding this, along with the 4 other clickables previously showcased (one in each mission), nets you the Dimensional Investigator badge.)
Please tell me that was the last of them.
Prepare yourself for a disappointment. We've got reports that there are three Avatars of Hamidon scaling the city's walls, Isawa Koi.
We've never seen three of them together like this. Three IDF soldiers who were hurt in the initial attack are feeling confident enough that they can provide you support, if you need it.
Our engineers are almost done powering up the sonic fences. Once they're on, we're safe... but only if you can take care of those Avatars.
... no, I'm not a leader. I can't tell them to throw away their lives like this. Tell the soldiers to stay behind, I'll handle this.
Are you sure, Isawa Koi? Three Avatars of Hamidon are incredibly powerful, and should not be handled lightly.
I'm positive. Mostly.
I'm... I'm sure they're only as powerful as the one I just fought. Yeah, he went down pretty easily. I just got to keep telling myself that.
But even if I don't make it, they're going to remember they were in a fight.
(seen here: the Polar Lights Lore pet summon (the two glowing balls on the right), the Barrier Destiny power, and the Assault Hybrid (the red light at his midsection). Three Elite bosses with confuse effects is more than enough justification to power up!)
You are fighting a war that you cannot win, Isawa Koi.
You will join me, you will become part of me.
You will become part of the new world.
Ours is a power that is shared, that becomes stronger.
The Avatars of Hamidon are powering each other up!
And here's the gimmick of the fight - once the first Avatar is hurt enough, all three of them gain 2 level shifts, making them level 53 and and equal with my level shifts. It's actually a gimmick you see in one of the Dark Astoria arcs, and one I always get a little surprised by.
An unexpected result...
This... is surprising.
The Avatar... is weakening?
Defeating the Avatars without any NPC support awards you with the Avatar Smasher badge.
I hope I never have to fight anything that strong by myself ever again...
Isawa Koi, you've done it! The sonic fences are back on and the city is cleared of the Devouring Earth. Lady Grey is working on re-activating the portal as we speak.
I'm still amazed that you took on all the Avatars on your own... That is quite an impressive feat! It seems like there's still someone who wants to dispute that, however.
Reese wants to face you one more time in combat.
Let's finish this, once and for all, Isawa Koi.
I don't know why I'm even humoring this, Reese. We just saved a city! We should be celebrating with everyone else.
Someone needs to take you down a peg. You think you're the new Top Dog around here, Isawa Koi? Let me tell you something. My name is Reese, and I am the Top Dog here, I am the last hope of Praetoria, NOT you! Not just some random Incarnate who walked in and thinks they can just do what they want!
I challenge you, here and now, to a fight, to prove who Praetoria's final Top Dog is!
What? After all this, you just want BRAGGING RIGHTS? They're yours, you can HAVE them! In fact, I know that Praetor White is on Primal Earth right now - you really ARE the last Top Dog!
All those people need to know it. And you need to know it.
Reese, I don't want to fight you. Neither of us has anything to prove here.
Just another cowardly Isawa, huh?
You've met other Isawas? Actually, I'm more surprised you know the difference between the surname and the family name...
Yeah, I met another one. She said she was only passing through, but you don't just walk away after taking down five Top Dogs! Reiko hid behind words like 'duty' and 'personal honor', but she squabbled in the dirt with all the rest of those losers.
... you met Reiko, then.
Hah! Is she your wife?
Cowardice runs in the family, then! But I don't blame her for running after she saw what I did to Warrant.
Don't you dare talk about her like that. (Fight Reese)
Finally, the high and mighty hero gets angry!
You could have been the Top Dog, Reese! The title's yours! I could just leave and let you protect all these people! They wouldn't even have to know!
Oh, they'd know. Every time they stepped outside, every time they looked out the window, they'd know! There's always someone better--
And this time it's me.
Urgh... defeated... but... I was the Top Dog...!
You could barely touch me. I'm sorry I let it get to this point.
(You've beaten Reese in combat. You can end his life here, once and for all, or spare him, allow him to live out his life here in Last Bastion.)
And you get to live. (spare Reese)
This is... embarrassing... humiliating!
And maybe more than you deserve, but I think it's a lesson that's been long overdue. Farewell, Reese. I'll tell Reiko you said hi.
Isawa Koi, I'm amazed! You did it!
We've got reports that Metronome is in Anti-Matter's space station now. He's going to be providing support from there against the Hamidon while we rebuild what's left of Last Bastion.
Metronome is the Praetorian version of the Clockwork King - one that's not as obsessive about psychic Asian teenagers. There's a bit more to him, but that's all you really need to know.
It's going to take a long time for anything significant to happen, but we have a beacon of hope now in Praetoria, and that's something to be proud of. The people are always going to remember you as their savior, Isawa Koi, it's something you deserve. You ARE the reason why they made it.
You said that Hamidon mentioned thinking he was better than humanity, right? That we're all flawed? I was thinking about it while you were gone. Maybe he's right. We are all flawed, you know? But I think, that's what makes us strong. Hamidon, at the end of the day, is alone with everything. But with all our flaws, we know that we have to band together to do things, to make a life!
We'll show the Hamidon that there is hope in humanity, and that we can even see his dream fulfilled of keeping the Earth a beautiful place - but not at the cost of human lives.
Thank you, Isawa Koi, for everything. Let's grab some coffee one day and see if we can chat about some tech stuff!
Yeah. Yeah, I'd like that. Although you'd be doing most of the talking. I'm still getting used to this whole 'internet' thing...
You know, you seem kind of subdued for someone who's being called 'Civilization's Savior'. A lot of heroes would be proud of what they just did!
I didn't really do it for the fame. I just didn't want any more people to lose their homes. Heck, when I saw those Avatars, I was seriously regretting doing this.
Is the 'being humble' thing actually part of your personality, or is this some kind of pseudo-samurai thing I don't understand?
Um, a little bit of both, I think. I just keep thinking about that talk with Hamidon, and wishing I was more of a philosopher so I could refute his points.
Koi, don't dwell on your regrets. Especially after you saved a city. Be happy! Last Bastion won't forget what you've done for them any time soon.
And they didn't put up a giant hologram statue of you for doing nothing! You can feel good about this, Koi.
... Yeah, you're right. It's pretty cool, huh?
I'm not sure what's up with the scarf on it, though. It looks like I'm caught in a head wind or something.
Souvenir: Hologram of Yourself
Number Six sent you a small hologram of yourself. You can push the button at the bottom of the device to have your image appear. It reminds you of an experience you call...
Praetoria's Last Gasp
You were asked by Vanguard to help evacuate the last civilization in Praetoria. Vanguard called it the Last Bastion. You decided that there was no need for evacuation; you were going to take the fight to Hamidon and help keep the civilization from collapsing. You helped push Hamidon's forces back and collected the parts required to rebuild the sonic fences needed to protect the area.
You eventually came face to face with Hamidon, or at least, an aspect of it. Hamidon warned you that there would be no end to its cleanse on the Earth. The monster then attacked you with one of its Avatars.
You made your way back to the Last Bastion for the last push to save the civilization. You stopped the Hamidon and even fought of multiple Avatars of Hamidon.
Now, Last Bastion is saved, and you are considered the savior of civilization.
Next time: Anti-Matter's Personal Story.
(and a couple more pictures of my totally rad hologram statue. )